Hackthorn medieval settlement and cultivation remains


Heritage Category: Scheduled Monument

List Entry Number: 1020197

Date first listed: 20-Jul-2001


Ordnance survey map of Hackthorn medieval settlement and cultivation remains
© Crown Copyright and database right 2018. All rights reserved. Ordnance Survey Licence number 100024900.
© British Crown and SeaZone Solutions Limited 2018. All rights reserved. Licence number 102006.006.
Use of this data is subject to Terms and Conditions.

The above map is for quick reference purposes only and may not be to scale. For a copy of the full scale map, please see the attached PDF - 1020197 .pdf

The PDF will be generated from our live systems and may take a few minutes to download depending on how busy our servers are. We apologise for this delay.

This copy shows the entry on 15-Nov-2018 at 04:01:21.


The building or site itself may lie within the boundary of more than one authority.

County: Lincolnshire

District: West Lindsey (District Authority)

Parish: Hackthorn

National Grid Reference: SK 99075 82153, SK 99381 82439, SK 99666 82659


Legacy Record - This information may be included in the List Entry Details.

Reasons for Designation

Medieval rural settlements in England were marked by great regional diversity in form, size and type, and the protection of their archaeological remains needs to take these differences into account. To do this, England has been divided into three broad Provinces on the basis of each area's distinctive mixture of nucleated and dispersed settlements. These can be further divided into sub-Provinces and local regions, possessing characteristics which have gradually evolved during the last 1500 years or more. This monument lies in the Lincolnshire Scarp and Vale sub-Province of the Central Province, which comprises a succession of scarps and vales in which clay vales with alluvial deposits and a chalk ridge, together with associated glacial deposits, form the structural framework of the landscape. There is a very dense scatter of nucleated settlements, many of which are situated in lines along favoured scarp-foot and dip-slope locations. Large numbers of medieval village sites now lie wholly or partially deserted. Densities of dispersed farmsteads are very low. The Scarp and Vale Country local region is divided by the Lincoln Edge from the broad Vale of Trent to the west. Chains of ancient village settlements, some now deserted, are characteristic of the region. They occur where soils change and springs appear. Densities of dispersed farmsteads are uniformly low.

Medieval villages were organised agricultural communities, sited at the centre of a parish or township, that shared resources such as arable land, meadow and woodland. Village plans varied enormously, but when they survive as earthworks their most distinguishing features include roads and minor tracks, platforms on which stood houses and other buildings such as barns, enclosed crofts and small enclosed paddocks. Villages were the most distinctive aspect of medieval life in central England and their archaeological remains are one of the most important sources of understanding about rural life in the five or more centuries following the Norman conquest. Medieval settlements were supported by a communal system of agriculture based on large, unenclosed open arable fields. These large fields were subdivided into strips (known as lands) which were allocated to individual tenants. The cultivation of these strips with heavy ploughs pulled by oxen-teams produced long, wide ridges, and the resultant `ridge and furrow' where it survives is the most obvious physical indication of the open field system. Individual strips or lands were laid out in groups known as furlongs, which were in turn grouped into large open fields. Well-preserved ridge and furrow, especially in its original context adjacent to settlement earthworks, is both an important source of information about medieval agrarian life and a distinctive contribution to the character of the historic landscape. The remains of the medieval settlement at Hackthorn, and the remains of its open field system, survive well as a series of substantial earthworks. As a result of detailed archaeological survey and historical research, they are quite well understood. The survival of nucleated village remains in conjunction with more dispersed farmsteads is quite rare in this region. The remains of house plots and farmsteads will preserve valuable evidence for domestic and economic activities at the site throughout the medieval period, giving an insight into the lifestyle of its inhabitants. The survival of parts of the open fields they cultivated will also contribute to our understanding of settlement in the wider medieval landscape.


Legacy Record - This information may be included in the List Entry Details.


The monument includes the earthwork and buried remains of the medieval village of Hackthorn together with associated farmsteads and cultivation remains. It lies in three areas of protection. During the medieval period, Hackthorn was a small village which remained fairly constant in size. At the time of the Domesday Book there were three principal manors as well as a church and two mills; by the early 12th century there were also three smaller estates. During the late 12th and early 13th centuries, consecutive land grants to monastic houses, combined with a consolidation of secular property, resulted in the predominance of two estates in Hackthorn, one centred upon a manorial complex at the western end of the village, and the other upon a grange of the Gilbertine priory of Bullington which is thought to have been located east of the village around Grange Farm. After the Black Death in the mid-14th century, the population of Hackthorn dropped sharply to less than half its former size, and the two main estates were united into a single holding. Thereafter, the population gradually recovered so that, by the time of the Dissolution in 1538, it stood at its former level. Hackthorn occupies both sides of a shallow valley, through which a stream runs from west to east. By the late medieval period a manorial block had become established in the western part of the village, north of the stream, where the church and manor house or hall were located. The old hall, which lay to the east of the Church of St Michael, was demolished in 1793, and in 1793-5 the present hall was built to the west of the church. All of these features lie outside the scheduled area. The monument includes part of the landscaped park to the south of the hall, where nucleated medieval village and cultivation remains are located, and two areas of earthworks to the east, which include the remains of dispersed settlement features. The nucleated settlement remains are situated in Hackthorn Park, south of the ornamental lake which was created along the stream in the late 18th century. Running east-west along the north-facing slope, roughly parallel with the water course, is a broad hollow way representing the principal village street. Along the north side of the hollow way is a linear bank beyond which the earth-covered remains of limestone rubble walls, standing up to 1m high, indicate the location of walled house plots. Further earth-covered stone walls within the plots represent the remains of houses and other buildings. The northern ends of the plots are partly overlain by spoil taken from the lake. Adjacent to the west of these features is a raised embanked enclosure which represents the remains of a farmstead. On the south side of the village street, the remains of ridge and furrow cultivation extend up the slope towards the park's southern boundary. Adjacent to the principal hollow way, the cultivation remains have been cut into by later quarrying, resulting in substantial depressions up to at least 3m deep. These quarries are believed to have been in use during the 19th century when the Church of St Michael was largely rebuilt. In the eastern part of the park, the ridge and furrow and the hollow way are traversed by the remains of a carriage drive which served the old hall until its demolition in the late 18th century. Lying within the second area of protection to the east of Popples Cottage is a further area of medieval earthwork remains. At the centre of this area, adjacent to the south of the stream, are the remains of house plots and associated buildings. Running along the south side of the house plots, a linear hollow way represents the earlier village street, which is thought to have been established along a former course of the stream. Redirected to its present course, the stream thus served to separate the house plots from the enclosures which extended up the slope to the north. Two of these enclosures survive, that on the west including the visible remains of ridge and furrow cultivation. Two further enclosures survive on the opposite slope, south of the hollow way; on the south side of these are the remains of another hollow way, representing a predecessor to the present village street which runs adjacent to it. The third area of protection is situated on the north side of the present village and extends eastwards from the earthworks around Yew Tree Farm over a distance of approximately 400m. The standing buildings at Yew Tree Farm, including the occupied farmhouse and garden, are not included in the scheduling. To the west and south west of Yew Tree Farm are the earthwork remains of rectangular embanked enclosures which are terraced into the south- facing slope. In low-lying ground in the south western part of this area is a linear pond, now dry, with a bank along its northern side. Within the terraced enclosure to the north of it are the buried walls of a circular structure, about 10m in diameter, possibly a dovecote. To the east of these embanked enclosures and immediately to the south of the standing farm buildings is a broad sunken area representing a former yard. Adjacent to the east of the trackway which runs alongside the yard, and raised and levelled up to 1.5m above it, is a broad embanked enclosure, rectangular in plan, which is thought to represent a walled platform where the buildings of an early farmstead were located. Buried building remains, including those of an early farmhouse, are believed to lie at the southern end of the enclosure. Immediately to the east of Yew Tree Farm are fragmentary remains of ridge and furrow cultivation, marking the separation of the farmstead from further remains of dispersed settlement to the east. This small area represents the only surviving part of a once extensive area of a medieval cultivation pattern which formerly spread to the north, west and south of the settlement but which has largely been destroyed by modern ploughing. Immediately to the east of the ridge and furrow are substantial earthworks indicating a further farmstead, which also extends across the south-facing slope on the north side of the stream. A series of banks, representing earth-covered stone walls, delineate rectangular enclosures. That on the west includes the earth-covered foundations of a rectangular building such as a house or barn. The most substantial building remains are located on the higher ground in the northern part of this monument, where rectangular building remains are ranged around sunken yards. The principal group of buildings, representing the core of the farmstead, is located centrally within this cluster of earthworks, separated by a yard and trackway from further building remains to the east. A linear ditch and bank, running east-west, separates the upper area of building remains from low-lying land to the south, where former animal enclosures are ranged between trackways and water channels. Running along the north side of the present stream is a channel which marks its earlier course, now separated from it by a broad flat bank. A substantial linear bank about 0.5m in height retains the southern side of the present stream; at its western end, where the two courses of the stream diverge, a small brick bridge carries a former trackway. South of the stream the trackway turns eastward to run alongside the bank, and then south again to skirt an embanked enclosure which lies in the southern part of the scheduling. A raised platform adjacent to the southern boundary of the monument may indicate the location of further building remains. A fragment of another raised enclosure occupies the south eastern corner of the monument; further remains of this and other enclosures to the east have been levelled by modern ploughing and are not included in the scheduled area. All fences, gates and troughs are excluded from the scheduling, although the ground beneath them is included.

MAP EXTRACT The site of the monument is shown on the attached map extract.


The contents of this record have been generated from a legacy data system.

Legacy System number: 22774

Legacy System: RSM

End of official listing